Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers said he has never lacked confidence in his scoring abilities after scoring 41 points off the bench against the Sacramento Kings. The 28-year-old scored a career-high of 41 points to help the Rockets beat the Kings 129-112 and improve to a 44-25 record on the Western Conference standings.
"You continue to tell yourself, 'You can do this, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this,' for nights like this," said Rivers, who had the most points by a Rockets reserve since Sleepy Floyd in 1991, as quoted on ESPN.
"I believe I'm a premier scorer. "That's just how I feel, but I'm on a team where that's not required of me every night. I play with the best scorer in the NBA, and I play with the other one of the best scorers in the NBA, in Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
So you've got to play a role and buy in. That's what winning basketball is, and that's what I'm a part of, so that's what I do. But make no mistake, I know I can score the ball. When you get in that zone, there's nothing better than that.
It's just different. Man, it was a fun, fun night."
Rivers gets a praise from James Harden
Harden, the biggest name on Rockets roster, scored 32 points, had eight rebounds and seven assists against the Kings. "He was just in attack mode," Harden said of Rivers' performance.
"He's been going in the morning to the gym, shooting and working on his jump shot, so that kind of gave him his confidence. Obviously with no Russ and no Eric, he needed to be a little bit more aggressive. He did that."
In 2017 -- while he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers -- Rivers dropped 38 points on the Memphis Grizzlies. "I was gonna go get it (a new career-high)" Rivers said. "But I still wanted to do it still the right way.
I didn't want to just come down and jack anything. I jacked a couple of shots, but this is why it's fun to play on this team. You've got guys encouraging it. They were giving me the ball. It's not like I was chasing it, taking it.
You had guys aware of this, and it was the last couple of minutes of the game. The whole game was natural, just flowing. That's the best way to have a night like tonight."